How stress impacts my life

During the month of March and the first week of April, I was under a lot of stress. Stress I had the ability to control, but didn’t. Stress I was putting on myself consciously and unconsciously. I knew I was experiencing lots of highs and lows, but didn’t connect the dots and realize why until last weekend when I was completing my Living Brave Semester coursework. Through reflection and guidance in my coursework, I have learned a lot about how stress impacts my body, life, and training.

My Body:

Stress causes my body to be EXHAUSTED. All I want to do is sleep! I mean like 10-12 hours a night…sleep! This makes sense. Mentally, I am focused elsewhere and either consciously or unconsciously deplete myself of all energy as a result.

IMG_9161
Sleep, sleep, sleep…

My Life:

Stress causes my life to be in a state of chaos. My train gets derailed and I don’t know how to get it back on track. With complete lack of energy, I turn into the Cookie Monster and eat monster cookies, peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, cookies, Cookies, COOKIES! A quick sugar fix gives me a short boost of energy, but when it wears off, my energy levels plummet lower than they were originally. It just becomes a vicious cycle. With the roller coaster of energy, comes a roller coaster ride of emotions as well. This doesn’t bode well to maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse when your emotions are all over the place.

cookie monster

My Training:

Stress causes my training to fall apart. I miss more workouts than I complete. Because I am so tired all the time, all I want to do is sleep. When my alarm clock goes off in the morning and I have the choice of getting up and working out, or sleeping for another 2 hours. When I am stressed, I often choose the later, knowing it is NOT helping me achieve my goals and dreams…SIGH…I lack all motivation to even plant my feet on the floor and pretend like I might get up and workout in the morning. I lack determination, willpower, and drive. I get frustrated with the Iron Hippie, because he “lets” me go back to bed. What am I thinking…IT IS NOT HIS FAULT!!

Lots of red in Training Peaks...
Lots of red in Training Peaks…

How do I overcome stress?

Thanks to Brene Brown’s Living Brave Semester, I have learned to focus on identifying what is REALLY causing the stress, how to let the stress go, refocus my conscious and unconscious mind elsewhere, and get myself off the merry-go-round that slowly and continuously seems to suck me into it’s center.

I first take a full body scan of where I’m at. Where is this stress coming from? What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way? Have I created an ending to my story that is real, or something that may not be real?

Next I take 20 minutes on 4 consecutive days and write in my journal about the stress. I don’t sensor what I write…I just let the pen flow for 20 solid minutes (I even set a timer and put myself in an environment with no distractions). It is amazing what I learn when I don’t sensor my thoughts.

During the day when I start to notice my mind allowing some negativity to filter in around my stress, I remind myself to let it go and focus on the here and now. By refocusing my conscious mind, my unconscious mind follows.

Through this work, I’ve overcome the stress. My train is back on its tracks, and I’m ready to conquer the world…ok, maybe not the world, but definitely the last 6 weeks of the school year. Yep…hard to believe our summer break will be here in about 6 weeks 😉

How does stress impact your body, life, and training? How do you overcome stress?

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11 thoughts on “How stress impacts my life

  1. Generally, I overcome stress by training. A good sweat session is my best medicine on those days. Also, I have really been trying to focus on the positive and that seems to help me relax and not take my training too seriously. While I still am pushing to improve, I choose to focus on the positive steps on that path rather than the negative. While I am not always successful with this (especially when it comes to the swim), I feel I am getting better, so that helps me with any stress I put on myself during those super tough training weeks.

    Sounds like you are in a good place with documenting your thoughts and feelings to better determine the source of your stress and how to deal. That is great and hope it continues to help. Oh, how I would love to have a summer off from work. That indeed is something tremendous to look forward to!!!

    1. Thanks for the tips Lee!! I too try to focus on the negative, but when I get on the stress merry-go-round, it isn’t always easy. I too need to work on my swim…ugh has this been hard!!

      I am in a good place with documenting my thoughts and feelings to better understand my stress and where I’m at. I wish everyone had a “summer break” to enjoy!! It is definitely one of the perks of being a school teacher 😉

  2. I’m glad you’re feeling better now! As I get older, I find stress/pressure so much harder on my system. I do have to sit and force myself to refocus on what I need to do to be more relaxed. I think the journaling is a great idea to get it out so that you can let it go and move on.

    1. Getting older is harder on my system in SO many different avenues! UGH! 😉 Journaling has definitely helped me let go and move on! I wish I would have started this years ago 😉

      1. I had a good journal session late last night. This week was definitely a loser on so many levels and I had to get it all out. Today, I will refocus on my goals/intensions-I need to be reminded of what it is I’m working toward here.

  3. Stress? Try playing monopoly with a few million dollars that you don’t have and can’t afford to lose. Then tell me about stress!

    I ride my bike to deal with stress. Very, very fast.

      1. I hope you didn’t think I was belittling yours… My comment was poorly worded.

        I got used to it after a while, I suppose. I don’t concentrate on the “what if’s”, just on the “what can I do right now” and it all works out in the wash.

        Stay strong Kecia. 98% of stress occurs in the gray matter between our ears. It’s only as real as we make it.

        Unless we’re criminals. In that case the stress is very real. 😀

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